The other spiderworts on the Great Plains are T. occidentalis and T. tharpii. The former has a wide range covering almost the entire Great Plains in areas with drier or sandy soils while the latter is restricted to the southern part of the Great Plains. All spiderworts are similar in appearance and hybrids often occur, making exact identification difficult.
With their flower parts in threes (three petals and six stamens), Spiderworts show they are in the class. Other typical monocots are lilies, irises, orchids and grasses. Monocot is short for , meaning "single seed leaf". That amazing little package of life we call a seed contains an embryonic root (the ) and an embryonic stem (the ) with either one or two seed leaves () attached to it. (Think of the difference between a kernel of corn and a peanut. Corn is a monocot and the peanut is a dicot . The two "halves" of a peanut are the cotyledons.) The seed leaves are the first thing to pop out of the ground when a seed germinates. They usually look quite different from the that the plant produces next. The seed leaves not only begin photosynthesis so the plant can prosper, but they also carry a quantity of stored food for the baby plant, much like the yolk of a bird's egg. The majority of families of higher plants are Dicots. When one of their seeds germinates, it produces a pair of seed leaves and their flower parts are in multiples of four or five.
Ponds are among the richest and the most interesting natural environments to observe. Tomake a pond it is sufficient to have a garden or, a meadow or a wood near your home. It isnot necessary to be large, a square meter (9 square feet) of surface is sufficient, buttwo(18 sq. ft.) are better. Find a shady position in the garden. Dig a hole of about 2square meters, 50 cm(2 feet) deep. At least one side, the border has to gently slope downto allow to little animals to enter and leave, for hedgehogs and opossums to drink and tobirds to bath without being too deep. Put some sand in the bottom. Leave the grass on theside. Bare roots are okay. Waterproof the hole with a tarpaulin of white PVC. Why white?Because you can see aquatic animals better when they come near the shore. Cover the borderof the tarpaulin with the grass sod. Allow the tarpaulin to extend for at least 40 cm (16inches) beyond the sloping shore. In this position you can keep the water in such a way tocreate the typical conditions of a marsh. Fill up the pond with tap water and shovel somesand or soil in the bottom: they will benefit the aquatic plants. Go to a natural pond ormarsh and collect some aquatic plants. If it is possible, carry some gallons of water fromthe pond and pour them into your puddle, which will be enriched with microorganisms,algae, and animals, which live in ponds. In few days, your little pond will become greenwith algae and very rich of protozoa. Rapidly dragonflies will come to lay eggs, boatflies, coleoptera and aquatic spiders also will come. In the spring, frogs and newtswill come to lay eggs. The observation of the life in a pond is fascinating. You canremain for hours watching the organisms, which live in this ecosystem. Buy books torecognize the organisms that live in the ponds. See bibliography (5, 6). These texts willalso give you also useful information on the habits of these plants and animals. For anexercise, note your observations in a book, glue pictures, and sketch drawings. Everyyear, during the fall, you should clear out the pond. Shovel out the stinking mud, washthe tarpaulin, or changed it if it leaks, put some tap water, winter rain will supply theremaining part. In spite of what shopkeepers will tell you, your pond does not need pumpsto circulate water, nor aerators, nor falls, nor fountains, nor anything else. The pond isbetter to be as natural as possible. Little ponds of private gardens are very important toamphibians. Avoid introducing fish. They will eat the eggs of the amphibians and thetadpoles. Moreover, the newts will keep the pond free from the mosquito larvae. When thereare tadpoles, your pond will be visited by water snakes, with difficulty you will noticeof them!... and --- don't be frightened: they are harmless!
Multiple Microhabitat Pond Microcosm (good cross section of a pond)
A Large Pond
Building a Pond
"Pond" Cultures of Microscopic Invertebrates
Internet keywords: pond building homemade.
An ecosystem consists of the whole community of living organisms (biocenosis), the abioticcomponent of a certain environment (biotope) and their relationships.
The relationships essentially consist in a flux of substances which pass from thenon-living components to living ones and in a flux of energy which passes from thephotosynthetic organisms (plants) to the herbivorous animals, then to carnivores. Thewastes and the dead organisms are then decomposed by the micro-organisms which brake downthe substances back to simple components, in a full cycle.
1 - With a shovel in a field or in a wood, dig a square hole of about half a meter (1 1/2feet) square and about 40 cm (18") deep. Describe the non-living components of thesoil and all forms of life you find: roots, earthworms, snails, centipedes, spiders,crickets, etc. To complete the description of the ecosystem of the soil, look forinformation on the role of each of these organisms and the relationships with the otherforms of life of this environment.
2 - In similar way you have studied the soil ecosystem, you can analyze other ecosystemssuch as the ones in a forest, pond, shore, or desert.
G. and L. Durrell (2) can be useful, or there are many other books on this matter.
An Illustration of a Soil Ecosystem
Protocols for a Soil Ecosystem Approach for Characterizing Soil Biodiversity
Internet keywords: soil ecosystem.
Break the tip off a spiderwort leaf and wait for a drop of sap to appear, then touch it with your fingertip and notice how far you can stretch a thread of sap. This resemblance to a spider's silk may explain where its name came from. The gooey quality of the sap definitely explains its familiar nickname of "cow slobber"! While you are up close, look at the lo-ong purple hairs on the stamens!
Plants can carry out the process of photosynthesis. This is a chemical reaction that provides food for plants. Could you imagine if we could activate the process of photosynthesis within our bodies? It would bring a whole new meaning to dining outdoors! These worksheets help students understand key vocabulary and concepts within the plant family.